Last week I spent the entire blog post defining the terminology that was going to be used throughout this series, what theology is, and what a worldview is. I also took a bit of time to discuss what the 7 main worldviews are when it comes to religion. Today I’m going to expound on that idea a bit more by looking specifically at the Christian worldview.
I’m glad you’re back for my second part in this series. I’m enjoying the study. I hope you are too. The purpose of this study is so that you, the reader, may gain an understanding of the doctrines that characterize the Christian faith. I really hope that you’re a skeptic. I really do. That’s the point of me writing this. I want the skeptics to come to an understanding of what our doctrines actually are. That said, let’s dive in and look at what the Christian worldview is.
The Christian Worldview
When looks seriously at the Christian worldview, there are three essential elements that must be looked at. These elements are:
2. The universe.
When we gain an accurate understanding of these three elements, we will better understand the Christian worldview. With that said, let’s start the same way the Bible does–God.
Who is God?
That is a radically important question for us to ask ourselves. “What comes into our minds when we thing about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer.
So how do we answer this question? Who is God? For the purposes of this article, this is the definition that I will use when I refer to God in attributive sense.
God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit;; and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.”
Psalm 90:2 says, “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the Lord, I change not.”
Exodus 34:6 says, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
Here we can start develop an understanding of who God really is. God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in truth. Not just any truth, relative truth. But in THE truth. God is eternal/preexistent. He’s not a created being. He’s the uncaused cause. The original mover. He does not change in His character. He is consistent in His plans. He is patient.
From these we develop two terms that have come to characterize God in theology: transcendence, and immanence. Let’s look at these carefully.
God is transcendent.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
In the beginning (the beginning of time-space), the infinite God, the God who is not bound by time-space, created out of nothing (ex nihilo). This is corroborated by Hebrews 11.
God – a simple statement. The writers of these beginning books do not give arguments of His existence, but God – strong one supreme deity, as His existence is a given.
What does it mean when a Christian speaks of God being transcendent?
God is unique, holy, set apart, distinct, and separate from His creation. He is independent, eternal, and self-existent. In a quick statement, He does not need His creation to exist. God is not part of the created order, because He created the order. Therefore, He exists outside of His creation, independent, and the order relies on Him. Therefore, God has authority and He is in control.
What does it mean that God is immanent?
God is personal presence. He is involved. He speaks, acts, cares, and redeems. God is not a God who is out there. God is among His creation, and He acts. He’s simply watching on a heavenly security camera all the coming’s and goings of the world. He is acting today among His people. He is personal and caring. This is why Allah and Jehovah are inherently different, and why Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.
“Now the Lord said” – Genesis 12:1. He established His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15) and He reestablished His law with Israel (Exodus 20). He did these things personally. That’s important.
“And the Lord appeared” to the Fathers (Genesis 12:7, Acts 7:2;) to Israel (Exodus 19). And the Lord acted – miracles (Exodus 3:20; 4:8; 6:1-8), history of Israel (Acts 7), and redemption (Romans 9; Revelation).
All a part of God being personal, is that God is knowable. This goes back to my first post and one of our necessary presuppositions for theology. God exists, and has revealed Himself to man. Therefore, God is knowable.
Knowledge of God produces obedience (John17:26; II Peter 1:3, 5; 2:18-20). Obedience to God leads to knowledge (John 7:17; Ephesians 3:17-20; II Timothy 2:25f; I John 3:16; Psalm 110:10; Proverbs 1:7; 15:33; Isaiah 33:6).
John Frame says in his book Knowledge of God, “It is certainly true that if you want to obey God more completely, you must get to know Him; but it is also true that if you want to know God better, you must seek to obey Him more perfectly.” Knowledge grasped without faith undermines it.
Therefore, because God is personal, we can determine that God has communicated with us, since He is personal and desires to know us. This begs the question, how has God communicated with us?
1. His general revelation (Romans 1:20-21). General revelation refers to God revealing Himself through creation (intelligent design), and through our inherent knowledge of who God is. Paul says in Romans 1 that mankind is born with an inherent knowledge that God exists, but this knowledge is suppressed and replaced by mankind’s rebellious hearts. Creation declares God’s presence.
2. His law upon the hearts of mankind (Romans 2:16). Mankind knows what sin is.
3. His written Scripture (II Timothy 3:16-17). God has revealed Himself through His Scripture. That is after all what these posts are all about, and I promise I’ll be getting to defending the Christian Scripture next week. These things had to be defined before we got there. Had to establish the ground work.
4. His living Word (logos: John 1:1, 14, 18). This is referring to Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, God the Son, and God come to Earth.
5. His living letters (II Corinthians 3:2-3). This is referring to Christians who are representatives of Christ, bearing the Holy Spirit (another doctrine I’ll get to at some point).
We now have a summation of who God is at a quick glance (really quick glance). Now we can look at the last two elements briefly.
Finally, when it comes to understanding God, we must understand Him as creator.
When God created, it was creation out of nothing (ex nihilo). The Hebrew word for shape is bahra.
The creation was, as described in Scripture, formless and void (Heb. tofu wobohu).
Formless – without form, shape, unfashioned
void – empty, unfilled, no life forms.
But He didn’t leave everything that way. Because in the next 6 days, God formed and filled the Earth.
God created everything by a particular method. He created all by His powerful Word. Hebrews 11 says that these things were brought about by Christ. The use of these words suggests a significant word play. God, who in Exodus 3:14 is known as “I Am,” says “Let there be” and there was.
What is so important to note is the accounts of creation mentioned in Genesis are historical, not poetry. This is a narrative. It’s an historical account. The reason for regarding it as historical is that this is the way other biblical accounts view it (Exodus 20:10, 11; 31:17; Matthew 19:4-6; Hebrews 4:4; II Peter 3:5).
God’s creative design was completed in six days. This is the culmination of understanding God in His transcendence and immanence.
By these things we know that God created everything in 6 days:
1. The Hebrew use of the word, “yom.” When this word is used with a number in the Old Testament, it is always used to reference a literal 24-hour day. This post is not about 6-day creation though. If you want to argue that, wait for another post on creation.
2. The biblical account is clear and is not figurative. It’s not poetry. The beginning chapters of Genesis are narrative, historical, and literal.
3. The weekly design of that we experience today is clearly taken from a design perspective that finds its origins in the book of Genesis.
That is a long introduction, but I felt that those things were necessary to understand before we get into any sound study of theology. I promise that we’ll get into Bibliology next week, and that I’ll begin to really explain why the Bible is trustworthy, reliable, and accurate.
*Information used here is from several sources, but the majority is taken from my class notes from Mr. Tim Smith’s class on Bibliology.
If you liked what you read, please share the article! Follow me on Twitter by clicking the “follow” button on the left of the screen.
If you want to read more from my blog of gaming, theology, and family, click the “Follow blog” tab at the top of the screen.